Indiana Pacers: Chris Duarte expected to miss four-to-six weeks with injury
Chris Duarte left Friday’s contest against the Miami Heat early after rolling his ankle on Kyle Lowry’s foot. How will his absence affect the roster?
Chris Duarte left Friday’s contest against the Miami Heat early after rolling his ankle on Kyle Lowry’s foot. He was unable to put any weight on his foot as he was helped onto the floor by his teammates.
An update on the Indiana Pacers’ guard
Adrian Wojnarowski provided an update on Saturday saying the Indiana Pacers expect Duarte to miss four to six weeks with a grade two ankle sprain.
This is less than ideal for Duarte who has had a slower start than anticipated. The sophomore has been in and out of the starting lineup and has yet to find consistency on a nightly basis. However, before this injury, he was able to produce big numbers in what was the best game of his career just a few days earlier. He scored 30 points and converted on 10 of his 15 shot attempts.
In nine games thus far he is averaging 8.9 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 34.2% from behind the arc. Duarte has a huge upside and this is a small bump in the road to a great career in my opinion, but it is unfortunate timing for this to happen after a standout game in Brooklyn.
Jeff Stotts of Instreetclothes.com provided an update on the injury that Duarte actually suffered:
“A Grade 2 sprain is considered a partial tear and is the same injury that is currently keeping LaMelo Ball sidelined”.
Missing four to six weeks put a return for Duarte to be middle of December at the latest. On the short side, four weeks would still put him near an early December return. This is an unfortunate setback for the sophomore but the season is long and this Pacers team has no reason to rush his return to the court. They will be just fine with Bennedict Mathurin and will hope to have Aaron Nesmith return sooner than later.
This will impact the team’s depth at wing which was already being tested. Now Indiana will look at rostered guys such as Oshae Brissett to pick up more workload than he was used to. This also makes me curious if Mathurin will move into the starting lineup with Nesmith’s status still in question — the rookie has been more than impressive off the bench.
If Mathurin is moved into a starting role, will he keep it? I think so, but the rotations have been rather fluid this season so it wouldn’t surprise me to see more movement. I like not putting the pressure on Bennedict, but he certainly seems up for the challenge and the injury to Duarte just may open the door for him to take that on.
Rick Carlisle has yet to hesitate in bringing players off the bench and if injuries continue to pile up, we may even see one of the two-way players come up from Fort Wayne. Kendall Brown is one of those options for Indiana as he was the team’s second second-round draft pick in 2022. Duarte is a bright spot in this team’s future and his return will be highly anticipated in due time.
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